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“UNSGslection.org is the website of a campaign organized by a group of Non-governmental organisations calling for a more democratic, transparent and effective selection process that will ensure the appointment of the most qualified candidates as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Among the NGOs are Amnesty International, Third World Network, Equality Now and the World Federalist Movement – Institute of Global Policy. On August 11 a Questionnaire of 14 groups of questions was submitted by them to all four declared candidates. Jayanatha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka was the first to respond followed by India. The responses of the other two candidates are still being awaited.

Here are the questions and answers from Jayantha Dhanapala. (more…)

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Jayantha Dhanapala was instrumental in taking the peace process where no Sri Lankan had taken it before. It was a pity his policy initiative was compromised by political expediency. Could his candidature for the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations also be subjected to similar forces, courtesy global politics? In LMD’s latest issue, Dr. Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, highlights Dhanapala’s contribution to peace in Sri Lanka. And the business magazine’s August edition, out now, underscores just why Dhanapala would be the most eligible candidate to hold the UN’s top post.

When the diplomat with over four decades of experience took over the leadership of the government’s Peace Secretariat in May 2004, the peace process was heading for disaster. The LTTE had pulled out of peace talks a year earlier – and it had commenced a vicious strategy of assassinating its Tamil political opponents and members of the government’s intelligence apparatus. It had presented an ambitious document for regional self-rule sans the central government. Compounding this negative scenario, the general election of April 2004 had been largely fought on the issue of the peace process. The victorious United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) campaigned on a platform that was critical of the peace process. The alliance highlighted its deficiencies as being unilaterally beneficial to the LTTE. It also accused the former government of having betrayed the country.

As Perera, a highly respected peace Analyst, observes in LMD: "But two unexpected events turned the situation around. The first was the appointment of Sri Lanka’s leading international diplomat to be the Director-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP). This appointment provided a measure of hope that the government was putting forward the country’s best intellectual resources to serve the cause of peace. Dhanapala’s UN experience, combined with his professionalism and integrity, meant that Sri Lanka had a world-class negotiator taking on the LTTE. However, the hoped-for breakthrough in the peace process was not immediate."

The LMD writer also points out in the magazine’s current edition that the international donor community pushed the Sri Lankan parties to work together towards a negotiated settlement. "It took nearly six months of hard work; but eventually, Dhanapala and his team of negotiators succeeded in reaching an agreement with the LTTE on a joint mechanism for tsunami relief: the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS). This was only the second agreement ever to be signed between the government and the LTTE, the first being the (Ceasefire Agreement) CFA of 2002.The signing of the P-TOMS agreement heralded a possible new phase for the peace process," Perera comments.

"Another major achievement was the marked shift in the attitude of the LTTE, which occurred in the course of the negotiations with Dhanapala and his team of negotiators. A comparison between the P-TOMS and the LTTE’s proposed ISGA proposal showed a vast difference," expounds LMD. [Via… The Island]

Sri Lanka’s widely known International Civil Servant and Senior Presidential Advisor, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, is Sri Lanka’s only candidate for the position of UN Secretary General. This truth goes unquestioned in Sri Lanka and among knowledgeable circles abroad and almost the entirety of this country-including the State – could be said to be staunchly backing Dhanapala’s candidacy for the UN’s top job.

We need to reiterate this truth, lest ideas to the contrary be circulated by some misinformed and misguided persons.

If there are pretenders to the candidacy we hope their minds would be disabused of this false notion. Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala is Sri Lanka’s choice for the post of UN Secretary General and there could be no other. This is the stark truth and we hope there would be no quibbling in any quarter about it.

Long before the current race to succeed the incumbent UN Secretary General Kofi Annan got underway, Dhanapala had distinguished himself as a diplomat and International Civil Servant.

His skills as a disarmament expert won for him the position of UN Under Secretary General for Disarmament from 1998 to 2003. Besides, his knowledge of international politics and of the Humanities is both profound and varied.

He served with great distinction as a diplomat in numerous of Lanka’s missions abroad before joining the UN system. As is well known, Dhanapala was UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s choice in 1997 for dealing with the complex subject of UN reform.

In short, Dhanapala’s credentials are beyond question. He has done Sri Lanka proud and is this country’s unquestioned choice for the post of UN Secretary General, which position would soon fall vacant on Kofi Annan completing his second term as UN Chief.

We wish to remind all concerned that Dhanapala needs our unqualified support and endorsement. Undermining his candidacy would be tantamount to violating the will of the State and of the people. Let us all espouse his cause as one man and not be guilty of engaging in anything approaching treachery and betrayal.

The matter of Dhanapala’s candidacy is something that was considered settled by the State quite some time back. His candidacy has received the blessings of all who matter.

What is left to be done by the Lankan State and the public is to explore every means of promoting Dhanapala’s candidacy. It should be ensured that Dhanapala wins the eminent position he is vying for.

Our front page news story yesterday quoting no less a person than the President’s Secretary should help to defuse all doubts and reservations on this question, if there are any in any quarter. Sri Lanka’s Jayantha Dhanapala must win and we call for a united advocacy of his candidature.

Via… Daily News Editorial

COLOMBO: Former UN Under Secretary General Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala is Sri Lanka’s only candidate to the coveted UN top post, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga asserted yesterday.

Weeratunga said Dhanapala is the only candidate nominated by Sri Lanka for the UN Secretary General’s post which will fall vacant after the current head’s second and final term expires in November.

He said: "There are no other candidates".

It is broadly accepted that an Asian candidate should be elected to head the UN this time, although the big countries have not officially agreed to this principle.

Foreign Secretary S. Palihakkara also confirmed the Presidential Secretary’s statement that there were no moves by the Government to nominate a second candidate.

Palihakkara said: "The Government of Sri Lanka and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stated very clearly that Dhanapala is the only candidate from Sri Lanka."

The four Asian states which are contesting for the top UN post submitted their nominations as early as June.

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon, Indian candidate, serving UN Under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Sri Lankan Candidate, Senior Presidential Advisor Jayantha Dhanapala are the only official candidates in the race.

However, some 30 more names including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President Bill Clinton have been suggested and are speculated to enter the fray, to head the most powerful organisation in the world.

Dhanapala served as the UN Under Secretary General for disarmament from 1998 to 2003.

He was handpicked by Kofi Annan to take over the challenging job after UN reforms in 1997.

Source: The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

The Association of Former International Civil Servants (AFICS) — which unites a unique group of Sri Lankans, who have served in the UN, UN specialised agencies and Bretton Woods institutions – has passed a resolution supporting Jayantha Dhanapala to the post of UN Secretary-General.

The resolution, adopted at AFICS annual general meeting last month, will be communicated to the association’s branches worldwide and to all Sri Lankans working in the UN, UN affiliated agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and the Commonwealth.

"Jayantha Dhanapala… is an active member of our association and, in our opinion, eminently suitable for this prestigious post," a press release from AFICS said yesterday.

The association also elected its office bearers for 2006. Dr Nihal Abeyesundere (WHO) was voted to the post of president; Dr Vernon Mendis (UNESCO) and Dr Douglas Nethsinghe (IAEA) to the posts of vice presidents; Dr Adrian Senadhira (WHO) to the post of secretary-general; and Vincent Kumarapeli (UNV/UNDP) to the slot of treasurer and editor. Committee members are Earle Samarasinghe (UNESCO), Lalit Godamunne (WFP), Vijita de Silva (APD/APDC), Ranjith Seneviratne (FAO), Dr Neville Edirisinghe (WFP) and Dr Panduka Wijeyaratne (WHO/UNEP).

Peter Apps

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s candidate for UN Secretary General said yesterday he believed his expertise on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction made him the best person to succeed Kofi Annan and deal with Iran.

Jayantha Dhanapala, former head of the Government’s peace process with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is one of three Asian candidates hoping to take over the top UN job at the end of the year.

"Weapons of mass destruction and disarmament have been one of my areas of work," he told Reuters in an interview at the Foreign Ministry. "With the Iran issue now coming up, I think you would have to have someone with the knowledge of the issues to work towards a peaceful solution."

Dhanapala, a former diplomat who also spent 10 years with the United Nations, five as undersecretary general, said his experience as a native of a developing country that had experienced a conflict was also important.

"You need to have somebody who has been in a country like Sri Lanka, which has experienced terrorism and conflict, to draw from lessons learnt," he said.

Achieving the millennium development goals, which set targets for reductions in poverty and child mortality, was key for the world in the next decade, he said.

"It remains a strong indictment of the international community that we have over a billion people who live on under a dollar a day," he said."If the living standards of these people can be improved … we will have a diminution of many other connected problems … whether it is on issues of human rights, environmental issues or other issues that worry the world."

While not all countries agree, Dhanapala said he believed it was Asia’s turn to take the secretary generalship, and that with Africa sharing the same opinion, at least 107 countries out of 191 favoured taking someone from Asia.

"It is not laid down in the charter," he said. "But practices are important … and finding a qualified Asian is not exactly a needle in a haystack operation."

The five permanent members of the Security Council, Britain, the United States, China, France and Russia, could veto any candidate but Dhanapala said he did not believe there would be a reason to do so against him.

"By and large the secretary general, if he follows the resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly, is on safe ground," he said. "If he wants to take initiatives, then it will have to be those that are proposed by the membership."

For whoever takes over from Annan, reform of the United Nations will be top of the agenda. The UN agency system is seen by some as needing an overhaul, and most countries say that, in principle, the security council also needs to be altered.

"It is widely accepted that the SC does not represent the power realities of today," he said. "Asia represents 60 per cent of the global population. We have only one member of the continent, China, as a permanent member. "I think Europe is over-represented and there clearly has to be a greater balance and an increase in members from other parts of the world." -Reuters

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affair is to launch on Monday, 27 February, a website on Jayantha Dahanapala, the Sri Lanka’s official candidate for the prestigious UN Secretary General post. Sri Lankan Government announced the candidacy of Jayantha Dhanapala for the UN Secretary General post and the Opposition parties also agreed that extensive campaign should be carried out in support of Jayantha Dhanapala’s candidacy. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will launch this website in Colombo.